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Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Saturday, 19 July 2008 18:46 UK

England toil after Prince century

SECOND TEST, Headingley (day two, close):
England 203 v South Africa 322-4

By David Ornstein

Ashwell Prince
Prince dominated the England attack all day to post his ninth Test century

Ashwell Prince put South Africa in firm control of the second Test with his second century of the series as England struggled on day two in Leeds.

Prince, who resumed the tourists' first innings with Hashim Amla on 101-3, batted impeccably from start to finish.

Darren Pattinson trapped Amla lbw for his first Test wicket but Prince and AB de Villiers then dominated England.

Prince (134no) and de Villiers (70no) led their side past England's 203 and to 322-4 at the close, a lead of 119.

The pair were seldom troubled by an England pace attack that failed to generate movement through the air or off the seam and, in Monty Panesar, a spinner who toiled on a pitch offering little to no turn.

With three days still to play, South Africa will be eyeing a comprehensive victory and, after the drawn opening Test at Lord's, a 1-0 lead in the series.

Graeme Smith will be in no rush to declare and might well ask his side to bat through day three, build a huge lead and then use the final two days to bowl England out.

With overnight and morning rain ensuring the pitch was covered until the delayed 1115 BST start, the England quicks knew an extra yard of pace should have been available.

That much was clear from the opening exchanges as, aside from beautifully-timed Prince boundary off James Anderson's second ball of the day, Amla and Prince began circumspect fashion.

Aware that the overhead cloud-cover was likely to help England generate some much-needed swing, the pair took few unnecessary risks outside off stump.

But, as the morning session progressed, Stuart Broad and Pattinson in particular began to be dispatched to the boundary with an element of regularity.

Prince pulled Pattinson over midwicket in the 38th over and then Amla drove and flicked Broad for fours in the 39th.

Broad was routinely punished for bowling too close to the pads but Pattinson was beginning to bowl to a consistent line and length, twice coaxing Prince into playing and missing at balls that shaped away.

And the 29-year-old duly made his mark by ousting Amla, albeit with the aid of a poor decision - by no means the first this series - from Daryl Harper.

Pattinson's full toss rapped Amla on the pad as he missed an attempted flick and, following lengthy consideration, Harper raised his finger.

Television replays suggested the delivery was missing leg stump.

Evidently buoyed by his strike, Pattinson started to generate increased pace and bounce, and for a time looked as though he might go some way to justifying his intensely controversial selection.

But the 29-year-old's huge lbw appeal, correctly turned down by Harper when he trapped Prince high with a ball that pitched on leg, proved to be the last genuine chance of the session and, in all honesty, the day.

Darren Pattinson
Pattinson's wicket was the single high point on a day of toil for England
Prince and AB de Villiers ably resisted Anderson and Andrew Flintoff to reach 158-4 at lunch and, under fairly clear skies and glorious sunshine, they seemed even more relaxed after the re-start.

England captain Michael Vaughan swiftly turned to the left-arm spin of Monty Panesar in an attempt to interrupt South Africa's momentum but the watchful Prince sauntered on and sealed his eighth Test half-century by lofting Panesar down the ground for six.

The batsmen were clearly intent on scoring heavily off Panesar and Prince clubbed the Northants man over long on and then de Villiers swept him to the deep square-leg boundary for four.

South Africa passed England's first innings total when Prince edged Panesar through the slips and, as if to illustrate his side's superiority, de Villiers went down on one knee and gleefully swept the next ball for four.

But for a direct hit by substitute fielder Garry Park when de Villiers had comfortably made his ground, the jovial crowd had precious little to get excited about as South Africa steadily built their lead with ones, twos and the odd boundary.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
Despite England's vociferous, yet misguided, lbw appeal when Flintoff trapped Prince with a ball that pitched outside leg stump, the gritty left-hander moved serenely towards his ton.

A neat drive past mid-off took Prince to 99 and he reached three figures by tucking Anderson behind square for a single in the 84th over.

England bowled aggressively after tea, Anderson and Flintoff both finding thick outside edges, but a breakthrough was not forthcoming.

De Villiers mustered his 14th Test half-century when he worked Anderson off the back foot behind square.

England, to their credit, continued to bowl with discipline and de Villiers was often found wanting outside off stump.

Although the players returned after rain stopped play at 1716 BST, the light was then taken at 1837 BST to end of a dispiriting day for England and an inspiring one for South Africa.

see also
SA on top after England collapse
18 Jul 08 |  England
Hoggard fears for England career
18 Jul 08 |  England
South Africa earn draw at Lord's
14 Jul 08 |  England
South Africa in England in 2008
14 Nov 07 |  Cricket

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